Thinking of a Friend to IndyCar at Thanksgiving

Posted in IndyCar on November 22, 2017 by Oilpressure

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Before I pass along warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving for everyone, I’d like to acknowledge something I was going to write about for Monday, before the whole Danica Patrick story broke.

It was reported last week that Robin Miller has been diagnosed with a treatable form of bone cancer. The prognosis sounds good, but the diagnosis still sounds terrifying. Whether you like him or don’t care for him; there is no denying that Robin Miller loves the sport of IndyCar racing and is very passionate about it. I consider him a definite friend to IndyCar.

Personally, I like Robin Miller and have always been a fan of his. He is one of those names that I’ve been hearing since I was a kid in the sixties, when my father would subscribe to The Indianapolis Star each May and have the paper mailed to our home. How could that be possible when he is only nine years older than myself? Well, he joined The Indianapolis Star in 1968 as an eighteen year-old. You may not like what he says, but there is never any doubt that he knows what he’s talking about.

I can’t count how many times that Robin Miller has tipped us off that something was going to happen. Many times, it would sound far-fetched and I would think to myself “OK, he’s gone out on a limb on this one and that’s never going to happen”. Sure enough, it would pan out exactly as he said it would.

In 2009, about three weeks ahead of time; I remember Miller saying that Tony George’s sisters were fed up watching their inheritance dwindle away as George kept propping up IndyCar and they were going to oust their own brother from the series. No one, including myself, fully believed that would ever happen. When it did just a few weeks later, it changed the entire course of the series.

That is the most memorable example of when Robin Miller has been right, but there are many more. By this point, if Miller predicted that an asteroid was on course to take out the Pagoda on December 10 – I would believe it. He is more plugged in to the IndyCar world than anyone I know of – and that includes Marshall Pruett, Tony DiZinno, David Malsher or Kevin Lee – and I have great respect for all of those IndyCar journalists.

Robin Miller is a throwback. Each May, it is not unusual to see him cavorting with Parnelli Jones, AJ Foyt or Bobby Unser – even though he is only sixty-eight and they are all in their eighties. His idol was Jim Hurtubise. To this day, he’ll usually have lunch every week with Bill Vukovich II at some local eatery in Indianapolis.

Robin Miller sits about two rows behind our new seats in the reconfigured IMS Media Center. It is there that he holds court with his cronies. He can come across as loud and bombastic, and make a lowly blogger like myself think twice before even making eye-contact with him. But like AJ Foyt, Miller can come across as gruff and cantankerous on the exterior – but I understand he has a heart of gold. I’m not going to pretend that I know Robin Miller, and I know he has no clue who I am. Over the years, I’ve carried on only two very brief conversations with him – once at the IMS Media Center about three years ago, and once in the lunch line at Pocono this past August. In both conversations, he was cordial and funny.

But now Robin Miller has a battle ahead of him. It should come as no surprise to anyone that just one day after the news was released about Miller’s condition on Thursday, that he was writing a story for Racer.com about Danica Patrick’s return in next year’s Indianapolis 500 on Friday – with absolutely no mention of his disease.

Most of us are heading into a long weekend to be with family and friends, when we will be reminiscing about old times and reflecting on how thankful we are. As we reflect, take some time to say a prayer and remember Robin Miller and the struggle he faces in the coming weeks. My hope is that he’ll come through this and we will see him at full strength at all the IndyCar racetracks by next spring.

George Phillips

Please Note: Susan and I will once again be travelling to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. She is now ninety-three, but still shows no signs of slowing down. I am obviously very thankful for that, along with so many other blessings in our lives.

As usual at this time of year, I am going to take a small break from here since I don’t care to spend Thanksgiving weekend behind a keyboard. Therefore, there will be no post here on Friday Nov 24 or Monday Nov 27. I will return here one week from today on Wednesday Nov 29. I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and I’ll see you here next Wednesday – GP

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Let The Polarization Begin!

Posted in IndyCar on November 20, 2017 by Oilpressure

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By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about Friday’s big news – that Danica Patrick will close out her racing career at the 2018 Indianapolis 500. This will be the second of two farewell races for Danica – the other being the 2018 Daytona 500 in February. Both of these races represent the finest moments for Patrick in each series. In NASCAR, she won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500 and finished eighth. Her career in the Indianapolis 500 is much more impressive. In seven starts between 2005 and 2011, she had six Top-Ten finishes – which included a fourth-place finish as a rookie in 2005 and a third place finish in 2009.

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Better Sooner Than Later

Posted in IndyCar on November 17, 2017 by Oilpressure

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This past Tuesday, I heard the news I had been dreading for the past few months. No, I’m not getting laid off from my job or anything like that. But being an IndyCar fan here in Music City, I knew that Tuesday’s news was likely.

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Don’t Squander This Golden Opportunity

Posted in IndyCar on November 15, 2017 by Oilpressure

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Believe it or not, we are one-third of the way through the offseason for the Verizon IndyCar series. That also means that two months have passed since Josef Newgarden was crowned as the new champion.

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A Question For My Engineering Friends

Posted in IndyCar on November 13, 2017 by Oilpressure

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We all know the story of the Pratt & Whitney STP-Paxton turbine car, affectionately known as Silent Sam, driven by Parnelli Jones that came within three laps of winning the 1967 Indianapolis 500 after dominating most of the month. It was a beast and although it qualified relatively poorly (sixth), it dominated on Race Day until an inexpensive bearing in the gearbox sidelined it on Lap 197.

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The Best Racing News Of The Fall

Posted in IndyCar on November 10, 2017 by Oilpressure

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This week we got some great news related to IndyCar. It wasn’t about the possibility of rookies getting more tires on a race weekend, nor were there any updates on the TV contract negotiations. No, this news hit much closer to home.

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Finally Living Up To Expectations

Posted in IndyCar on November 8, 2017 by Oilpressure

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Last week, Josef Newgarden confirmed what most of us strongly suspected – that he will be carrying the No.1 on his car for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The No.1 traditionally symbolizes the reigning champion from the previous season. There has been a recent caveat to that rule – that is, if you’re the reigning champion and your team isn’t Chip Ganassi Racing.

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